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Portland Jewish Academy

6651 Sw Capitol Highway
Portland, OR 97219

(503) 244-0126


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For more than 30 years, Portland Jewish Academy's Preschool has provided a nurturing and fun environment for children to develop a love of learning, to be supported in exploring a Jewish Life and to begin developing a sense of achievement, self worth and self-reliance. Portland Jewish Academy's preschool believes in education for the mind, body & spirit. At PJA, each child is known, each child is nurtured and each child is challenged to grow intellectually , morally and spiritually.

PJA's Preschool and Infant Toddler Development program serves the needs of families by providing quality, loving care and education for children ages 6 weeks through six years. The program offers an environment built on respect for each individual child, staff member, and parent. We serve as a resource and partner with parents in the development of their child. Although exploring Jewish life, culture and holidays is an integral part of our program, your child need not be Jewish to enjoy participating; our program is open to all children.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Teacher-Led, Reggio-Emilia

From the Director:

Small classes and PJA's dedicated staff encourage exploration and experiential learning in a nurturing environment that helps children develop self-confidence and self-respect. Our preschool encourages creative exploration through art, music and movement. Children also experience a rich variety of learning opportunities including science, block constructions, manipulatives, books, cooking and dramatic and sensory play. Specialists in each filed help to craft a complete (and fun!) program.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught In addition to instruction by classroom teachers, children in our preschool get to meet with specialists in art, music, Hebrew and Jewish studies, and also have dedicated library time.

From the Director:

Preschoolers thrive with a developmentally-appropriate curriculum that is child centered. "Developmentally-appropriate" means that we plan activities that are designed specifically for a particular age. The beauty of this approach is that children absorb information and learn new skills in an environment that's both fun and enriching. Every child deserves to develop a sense of wonder about the world around them. A "child-centered" program responds to children's needs at different ages, taking into account their abilities, skill level and interests. at PJA's preschool, our teachers start the year with a plan of what skills they want children to acquire and then respond day-to-day in the classroom with fresh activities that respond to children's interests and what's happening in their world. Teachers plan activities, field trips and events for children that allow for open-ended, creative exploration. There is always a range of skills and interests in a classroom and a developmentally appropriate program can challenge all students along that continuum. Open-ended and creative projects allow children to extend the project and learn new problem-solving and critical-thinking skills at their own level and pace. At PJA, our belief in developmentally-appropriate curriculum leads us to creat classrooms that encourage exploration and experiential learning. We provide varied activities for hands-on learning. We believe--and academic research backs us up-- that preschool-age children develop important social and critical thinking skills through such hands-on, playful learning with others. Our developmentally appropriate curriculum sets the stage for a lifetime of inquiry, curiosity and learning.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

At PJA we foster a love of learning, develop inquisitive thinkers and encourage creativity in every child. Our goal is to provide students with the tools to make a difference in the world.

Home-School Connection

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up